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Walker, Della (1932 - 2004)

Ulgandahi Island, New South Wales, Australia
Aboriginal Artist, Aboriginal community worker and Aboriginal health worker


Della Walker, of Gumbainggir descent, was born in 1932 on Ulgandahi Island, an Aboriginal reserve in the Clarence River delta near Maclean, New South Wales. She attended school on the island before her family moved to nearby Yamba, where she was employed in domestic duties at a local guesthouse. When she was 17, the family moved to the Tabulam reserve, 45 kilometres west of Casino. She married there, and worked both as a domestic aid and an assistant to her husband in his seasonal farming jobs.

Walker became an unofficial midwife at the reserve, and subsequently became involved in a number of community activities: organisation of church services and the Djunagun dance troupe; promotion of her mother tongue, Aboriginal education, the teaching of Aboriginal Studies at regional TAFE colleges; and counselling of prisoners at the Grafton gaol. She was also a member of the Aboriginal advisory council of the College of Advanced Education in Lismore, president of the Housing Association and the local Land Council at Tabulam, a director of the Yamboora Aboriginal Corporation at Yamba, and chair of the Nungera Aboriginal Cooperative Society at Maclean.

Walker is a craft worker, screen printer and maker of echidna-spine necklaces.

Sources used to compile this entry: Horton, David (ed.). The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia, Vol. 2, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 1994, p. 1141.

Leonarda Kovacic and Barbara Lemon

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